I recently got my hands on an HP T100 Multiseat Thin Client as it was a really good deal at less than $10. With it, I wanted to get an idea of the process for setting up multiseat with EasySeats without an additional internal video card. These thin clients work like an external display adapter that also has sound and kb/mouse connectivity options, or at least that is how this HP one is. I am sure the ones from Plugable and ThinGlobal are the same.
Below, I am going to create a multiseat setup using only the EasySeats GUI.
Right away, even before attempting to set up additional seats, I was able to use this client to set up a second head for some two-monitor action:
Next I request the list of current seats and show the display panel. After that, EasySeats is launched and I press the "Get system devices" button on tab 1 to pull in all available devices from systemd. On the second monitor, I have requested the same list of devices at the terminal just to show what a multiseat thin client looks like.(This step is unnecessary in the seat creation process) As you can see, the client is device usb:1/1-2, and for its sub devices it has a graphic component, a C-Media device, and two HID devices. The C-Media is most likely the sound and the two HID interfaces are the PS2 ports.
Next, I move to tab 2 and click on usb:1-2 and press "Add", so that this device is moved over to the second list:
Then I click "Assign". Here, an authentication window will pop up and ask for the administrator password. This is not a function of EasySeats, this is your distribution letting you know it received a valid command. Plug in your root password and your seat will be created. It's that easy.
I do want to note that in the upper middle section of the second tab, the ability to choose other seat numbers is represented by this drop down menu. So if you wanted to create up to 5 seats, you can.
Once the administrator password has been accepted, the last thing to do is close all applications/windows and reboot. Once that is complete, the next thing you will see is this:
Voila! Two seats and zero commands or text files modified in the process. The cool thing about a thin client like this is that the sound and connectivity interfaces all get transferred over to the new seat with one single click. Lastly, I log in and request the available seats:
I do not have any PS2 devices and haven't had any for years so I had to plug in the kb and mouse "normally" and use EasySeats to assign them to the second seat. USB device assignment can be done in real-time, that is, no reboot is required to move USB devices from seat to seat the way it is for a video device. It is hard to demonstrate in screenshots, but the sound does work as expected with this thin client so both seats have sound. The Toshiba laptop was released in early 2010.
This is currently running Xubuntu 18.04 with systemd 237 and lightdm. At this time, systemd and lightdm are the two most important software requirements. If you have those two, it really doesn't matter too much which distribution you install. On the hardware side, EasySeats only works when multiple graphics adapters are available.(such as a USB multiseat thin client or a second PCI-E video card)
Personally, I think I would recommend multiple video cards over a USB adapter like this just because its more performant hardware, but of course the only way to multiseat a laptop at this time is with a USB thin client adapter. During the use of this device, I did notice small graphics performance lags that would not have happened with a card. And with EasySeats, seat creation and assignment is just a click away.
To recap, the process to create one or more seats is:
1. Launch EasySeats
2. Get devices on tab 1
3. On tab 2, Choose device, press Add
4. Press assign
5. Root password
Additional insight into creating a seat with EasySeats can be seen on my YouTube page.
EasySeats Jar files(open and go) can be downloaded from Github: github.com/ezst036
EasySeats is open source software developed to bring ease to users who choose to go multi-seat. It supports video cards for seat creation as well as external USB docks.